A Late Bronze Age field system and settlement on the Antrim Plateau: preliminary results

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Abstract

Upland landscapes were challenging environments for the settlement and subsistence of past communities because oftheir elevation and environmental sensitivity.These challenges have, however,contributed to the preservation of abundant archaeological remains,many of which are now wholly or partially covered by blanket peat. In this paper we report the results of some initial investigations into relict field and settlement evidence on the Antrim Plateau.The use of airborne laser scanning and orthoimagery, including infrared band, has enabled the identification and mapping of a series of stock enclosures, round houses and field walls in the area.A ground survey carried out over a period of six years has allowed these to be recorded in detail.Excavation and radiocarbon dating of one of the field walls and one round house suggest that they were both constructed in the Late Bronze Age. Previous palaeoenvironmental evidence showed that the plateau supported extensive woodland, but that localised clearance took place in the vicinity of the fields. Pollen evidence suggested that the fields were used primarily for pasture rather than arable agriculture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-57
JournalJournal of Irish Archaeology
Volume28
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019

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